I drove over to Noyers-sur-Cher yesterday for my examen de la vue — my eye exam. The optical shop is called Optique Noyers and I'd recommend it. The young woman who runs the place was on time (I was early for the appointment). Only one other customer was in the shop, and just for a few minutes, while I was sat there and waited. We all wore face coverings.
When it was my turn, I was shown into a well fitted-out room behind the opticians desk. There I saw all the familiar equipment from eye exams I've had in the U.S. — the test was not unfamiliar or surprising. One thing that did surprise me was that the optician asked me to give her my glasses so that she could see what the current level of correction I was using. Vous pouvez faire ça ?, I asked her. Oui, j'ai une machine pour le faire, she told me.
She could have just ordered lenses with the same correction factor as my old lenses, but she didn't. She did a full exam, and told me that both my eyes had changed since my glasses were made several years ago — I can't remember exactly when I had them made, but it was on one of my trips to North Carolina. The last prescription I have in my medical files is dated February 2009, but I think I had another exam after that. I showed that prescription to the optician and she said it didn't match the glasses I was wearing.
When the optician did a mock-up of the glasses she said she'd make for me, I could clearly (as it were) see the difference. Everything was sharper through her lenses that with my current glasses. Since both eyes had changed, I needed to order two new lenses to replace the lenses in the glasses that I had damaged, which is how this whole thing started. I suddenly realized that I would need to have two new pairs of glasses made, because I wanted two pairs that used the new correction level, one as my lunettes de secours — my spare pair, for emergencies — and one as my everyday glasses.
I asked the optician if I would be getting plastic lenses or glass lenses in the new glasses (a lens is called un verre in French, the same word you use for a drinking glass). I asked her if verres en verre are lot more expensive than verres en plastique. No, she said, but they are beaucoup plus dangereux.
Imagine if your glasses had had glass lenses in them when you fell a few months ago. The glass lens could have shattered and you could have seriously injured your left eye. Actually, that's my strong eye. In the right one I've always had blurry vision — the optician described it as un œil malade. If your good eye had been injured, instead of just having your plastic lens scratched, what would you have done then? Bonne question, I said.
The optician went on to explain that there were four types of lenses I could choose from, with prices going from 200 to 350 euros apiece. I don't know how that compares to American prices. She said the main difference in the lenses is how much peripheral vision they give you and how clear it is. I chose lenses in the middle range.
And I needed four of them, for two pairs of glasses. I didn't need new frames. I asked her if she could use her machine to see if my two pairs of glasses had identical lenses in them. Of course, she said. Then she told me that the glasses with the scratched lens seemed to be an older prescription than the ones I've been wearing recently. That surprised me. I thought they were the same. My memory is not what it used to be.
The optician printed out a devis [duh-VEE] — a price quote — showing what I would have to pay for the lenses. There was no separate charge for the examen de la vue. I looked over the quote and it was confusing. It looked like it listed one charge of about 420 euros, another for about 80 euros, and then another charge for 500 euros. I looked at her and said I had figured out in my head that it was going to cost me about a thousand euros for the four lenses.
Then she looked confused. No, she said. It will cost 500 euros. How can that be, I asked. Well, she said, when you buy a new pair of lenses, we give you a second pair at no cost! Wow, I thought. I had no idea. I had told myself before the eye exam not to be surprised if two new lenses would set me back between 600 and 800 euros. I don't know if all French optical shops offer deals like that, but Optique Noyers does. By the way, the 416.67 on the quote is the cost of the lenses HT (hors taxe) and 83.33 is the amount of TVA (VAT, a national sales tax). Those add up to the 500 euro total (TTC — toutes taxes comprises).
I left the shop a happy man. The lenses should come in next week, the optician said. I left the damaged glasses with her. When they have the new lenses in them, she'll call me and I'll go pick them up. I'll give her the glasses I'm wearing now and she'll put the new lenses in them while I wait, if I want to wait.
This all sounds really good. You will have two pairs of new glasses with a better prescription than before and it will cost you less than you thought! I wish my glasses provider would give me a second pair for free when I order new glasses. Did you give her two old frames and still have one to use driving home?ReplyDelete
No, I just left one pair of glasses with her, and she'll put the new lenses in those frames. Then I'll take her the pair I've been wearing since March and she'll but new lenses in these frames. I still have at least three frames in my desk drawer.Delete
A good experience all the way around. Guess I need to make sure my lenses are plastic next time! "verres en verre" I know what it means, but interesting phrase...ReplyDelete
I did some more reading. What I called verres en verre are technically called verres minéraux. Plastic lenses are called verres organiques in the jargon. Here's what I found:ReplyDelete
Verres minéraux (verre) : matériau historique moins proposé de nos jours. Ces verres possèdent une résistance aux rayures inégalée mais sont également plus lourds et plus sensible aux chocs. En effet ils possèdent un plus grand risque de se casser. Ils sont donc déconseillés pour toutes les activités sportives et pour les plus jeunes, et conviennent pour des lunettes de ville.
Verres organiques (plastique) : Ces verres sont plus légers et plus résistants aux chocs que les verres minéraux mais plus sensibles aux rayures. Il est donc recommandé de les accompagner d’un traitement anti-rayures. Ces verres sont conseillés pour les lunettes de soleil et les lunettes de sport.
Verres en polycarbonate : Le polycarbonate est une matière de synthèse extrêmement résistante aux chocs et offrant également une protection contre 100% des rayons UV. Les verres en polycarbonate sont légers et moins sensibles aux rayures que le plastique. Ils représentent un choix adapté pour des lunettes pour enfants et les lunettes de protection.
Interesting the differences Ken! Didn't even know polycarbonate was an option.Delete
When I gave my American prescription to the lunetier near my place in Paris, he said he could read it and I got two pairs of glasses for the price of one. I probably should have my eyes examined, but my sight is very steady. The lenses are en verre.ReplyDelete
I still need to go see an ophthalmologist, to find out whether I need to worry about cataracts now. And other maladies of the eye.Delete
The price is comparable to what I am paying here in DC, for progressive bifocals. The second pair free is a good deal.ReplyDelete
I was stunned when the optician told me that the second set of lenses was free. I was sitting there thinking that $1000 wasn't such a bad deal for the two sets. And half price... wow.Delete
Glad you had a good experience and deal on your lenses. We sold lenses like the ones you purchased for 3 to 4 hundred a pair with the second pair at half price but you had to buy two frames at 1 to 2 hundred each. I'm impressed with your deal and glad to know. I'm also glad I didn't have to do the exam when I was working.ReplyDelete
I'm pretty happy about the whole situation. I was sure I'd have to pay a lot more, and wait six months or more to get an appointment with an ophthalmologist before I could do anything at all about getting an emergency pair of glasses. I should be in good shape a week from now, after the new lenses come in and are cut to fit the frames.Delete
If I'm in the area and have an eyeglass issue, I'll be sure to stop there. I've had 2 very minor experiences with French optician's offices, and was very pleased with the way they went. They both involved a screw falling out of the frames. Once in Annecy, and we just walked into the first optical shop and told them the problem. They fixed it pretty quickly; the charge - 2 euros. The second time was when we were staying with a friend in Burgundy. She said to just drive into the center of town and there are some optical shops. The woman there fixed it quickly, and when I asked how much it cost, she said "Nothing" (actually, she probably said something like "rien.")ReplyDelete
It turns out that the optical shop over in Noyers-sur-Cher is part of the Optic2000 "cooperative" organization. In the sort of distant past, back 20 years ago, I had to go to optical shops a couple of times to have screws in my glasses put back in after losing them. Every time the experience was pleasant and I think always on a no-charge basis.Delete
Our eyesight is so valuable. Glad you had a good experience and will soon have better vision. I will be getting a new lens soon and probably need to consider getting a spare pair of glasses. When we lived in Anniston we had a friend who ground the lenses himself- he learned the trade from his parents. He wanted to be an Optician but couldn't pass the test to enter the university program. It's wonderful that we live in a time where old people can still see and have cataracts easily removed.ReplyDelete
I can't wait to get the new lenses put into my glasses. If they are as much of an improvement as the optician's mocked up lenses were, I'll be enjoying my new view of the world. The optician's name is Lucie Legrand, as I noticed when examining the price quote the other day.Delete
Very good news!ReplyDelete
'Tis true. I'm pretty happy and hope the follow-through is a positive experience too. Can't wait for my new old glasses to be sitting on my nose.Delete
Here, the frames are very cheap. My last pair of glasses at Costco were too tight due to a hinge/spring mechanism on the templars that keep pressing into one's head. I asked to return them and I was told, well, there's not much we can do for you, only the frames can be reused and they might be worth $25 or so. I have kept the glasses and since December when I bought them I have probably only used them 20 or 30 days. I need to try them again and see if I can live with that pressure. My cost: inclusive with 2-year warranty and progressive lenses was $209.ReplyDelete
I am happy you got this solved and so quickly, Ken. Plastic is safer for our eyes, and also much lighter.
Mary in Oregon
I just read your various description for materials for lenses. Here, most of my friends and the stores recommend an upgrade for the polycarbonate and that's what I have purchased for the last 3 pairs of glasses.ReplyDelete
Mary in Oregon
The strong points of polycarbonate lenses compared to plastic lenses is that they are lighter, don't break as easily, and filter out 100% of UV light compared to 95%. Glass lenses filter out 85% of UV light.Delete
It sounds like the warranty on your frames wasn't worth much. Sorry for you. Can you take them to a different optician and see if there's a solution to the problem?
This was really interesting, Ken. Thanks. My last pair from Kaiser here in California cost $650; a second pair was offered for 50% off. I'll ask next time about getting lenses for improved peripheral vision.ReplyDelete